All the Ways to Apply for Financial Support If You're Struggling During Lockdown
The government has announced a bunch of new support programs — here's what you need to know.
Following new financial support programs from the Federal Government announced on Thursday, 15 July, as well as the announcement that the Victorian lockdown has been extended until Tuesday, July 27, the Victorian Government has finally unveiled its own financial support packages for individuals and businesses struggling during this time. The packages include assistance for individuals, small businesses and sole traders who have lost income. While the financial support on offer is quite far-reaching, it can feel a little daunting when you're trying to decipher if (and where) you fit into it all.
So, here's an easy-to-read overview of all the support on offer across Victoria if you've been financially impacted by the latest lockdown.
Individuals can apply for COVID-19 Disaster Payments through the Services Australia website from Friday, July 23. The joint plan between the federal and state government means that individuals who have lost between eight and 20 hours of work due to stay-at-home orders can access recurring payments of $375 a week. Those who have lost more than 20 hours can access payments of up to $600. There are a few eligibility rules; for example, you must be an Australian resident or on an eligible work visa, over the age of 17 and not on an income support payment like JobSeeker or Youth Allowance. Head to Services Australia for more information.
Any businesses that are registered for GST and have experienced a downturn in revenue due to the lockdown are eligible for assistance through either the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund or the Business Costs Assistance Program. The Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund assists businesses that operate as a "licensed bar, restaurant, pub, club, hotel, cafe or reception centre" with a current liquor and food service license, and you can read the full eligibility criteria online. The Business Costs Assistance Program covers both employer and non-employer businesses that have "incurred direct cost" from the lockdown.
Both programs are offering top ups to previous grants provided during the May/June lockdown, or full grants for businesses that didn't apply for support during the previous lockdown. The Victorian Government suggests microbusinesses not registered for GST apply for the aforementioned COVID-19 Disaster Payment of between $375–600 a week.
Regional businesses are eligible to apply for both the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund and Business Costs Assistance Program; however, there are two specific relief programs that are designed to assist regional businesses. Hospitality, retail, accommodation and experience-based businesses in alpine regions are now eligible for a new Alpine Support Payment which will grant them access to up to $5000 of funding for off-mountain businesses, and up to $15,000 in funding for those in alpine resorts and the Dinner Plain. Similarly, a regional Business Costs Assistance Program Tourism Supplement will provide accommodation, attractions and tourism operators access to up to $4500 in support.
THE ARTS INDUSTRY
The Victorian Government is topping up both the Impacted Public Events Support Program and the Live Performance Support programs. Eligible public events suppliers will be invited to apply for the Impacted Public Events program, while the Live Performance Support is available to suppliers and presenters of live performances, with grants of up to $500 per live performance available for suppliers and grants of up to $7000 on offer for presenters. Eligibility information for suppliers is available online, as are details for presenters.
For artists and crew workers who have lost work due to the lockdown, not-for-profit Support Act is also offering a helping hand. Support Act is offering one-off grants of $2000, or $2700 to families with dependant children, to musicians and crew members that have been financially impacted by the lockdown in order to help soften the blow of lost gigs and shifts. The organisation also offers financial relief to members of the music and arts community that are unable to work due to injury or illness, and a Mental Health First Aid program to assist those struggling with their mental health.
If you're still confused, we recommend heading to the Businesses Victoria website — or you can read more in Premier Dan Andrews's funding announcement on the Victorian Government website.
Top image: Armelle Habib
Published on July 22, 2021 by Ben Hansen